By now we hope that everyone is home safely from CounterPoint and has experienced that first post-fest shower which may be the most refreshing thing in the world. After a weekend of running around Kingston Downs bouncing up and down and from stage to stage, now is the time where we reflect on our thoughts and feelings we experienced over the weekend and try to apply them to our everyday lives.
Perhaps you’ve seen some reviews from disgruntled attendees and feel the same way. If that’s the case we ask that you take some time to reflect on the overall experience and, with our help, maybe realize that CounterPoint ’15 was an incredible weekend.
We’ve broken down the experience into four categories in an easy to remember format, C.A.M.P. That is Community, Atmosphere, Music, and Personality.
Before we get into the explanation below, we’d like to take some time to address some complaints that we saw from people on Facebook and even a few in person. CP ’15 was by all means, a small festival. We’re getting reports of about 8,000-10,000 people when they were expecting 15,000+. This meant that the festival organizers (MCP) had to cut back a bit on staff, production, and “attractions” (think art installments, etc.)
While a lot of people complained about the cut backs, we’re not sure if they realized the other side of the coin of the festival being undersold: it was one of the least crowded fests we’ve ever been to. The areas for camping were expansive (we had about 15×40 in car camping and could’ve expanded another 20 ft if we wanted to). There were barely any lines to get in, to get food or water, or to go to the bathroom. Also, the crowd was so small that every set felt intimate and personal.
Starting off with what we consider to be the most important aspect of any festival, the community. A festival can have everything be on point, but if the crowd and the people are awful it can make for a terrible experience. In our opinion, CP’s crowd was awesome. They were mature (we’d put the average age around 21), polite, and mostly locals from the Georgia area. There was barely anyone pushing to get closer without apologizing, blasting music at late hours of the night or being rude in the campsite, and we saw very few people needing medical attention. This was our personal experience so we can’t speak for everyone, but in our opinion CounterPoint’s crowd was very close to perfect.
Atmosphere can also be described as the “vibe” of the festival and is vital to having a great weekend. Because of a long wait to get to our campsite once we got in line (took about 3 hours) everyone there was understandably a bit anxious and annoyed. We had to try to set up our tent and campsite in about a half-hour before G Jones started at 5, and surprisingly we were able to.
After the initial annoyance of ingress, everyone settled down and the vibe from the weekend was great. Besides a couple of schedule changes (Chet Faker dropped and people were very upset) everything ran smoothly and there were smiles all around. There were no noticeable bad vibes in the grounds, as everyone had plenty of space to move and groove, or sit and still see music.
You may be thinking to yourself, “why is music so low on this list? It’s a music festival shouldn’t it play a bigger part?” While that is true, music often takes a backseat when considering the overall experience. Sometimes you don’t even remember who played from 3pm-5pm, but you remember having an absolute blast.
Although music is low on this list, the lineup was by no means weak. G Jones kicking off the weekend with some nasty West-Coast bass had people dislocating their shoulders. Saturday got started early with Haywyre throwing down and the Emancipator Ensemble serenading us around dinner time.
Then GRiZ took the stage and he completely shut it down. He was ripping that sax like a rusty nail out of a wet piece of wood. Some highlights of his set were Smash the Funk with the “Cozza Frenzy” vocals, Kung Foo Fighting, and everything off the new album. His set was by far the dustiest of the weekend with everyone shuffling their feet around so much.
After we had Shown Love and Spread Love, Thomas Jack took us away with some Tropical House while the sun set. This was a welcome break before we got trapped out with What So Not into RL Grime.
Sunday was our favorite day of the weekend and the one that it seemed everyone was most looking forward to. Manic Focus got us started early (3pm) and the grooving didn’t stop with Minnesota into Michal Menert. Menert surprised us by getting on the mic and rapping for a few songs, who knew his voice was that good? Then Ott. took the stage and brought us his cascading melodies that made us feel like riding a unicorn bareback through a field of rainbow colored flowers.
Then it was time for the man we were all waiting for. Tipper took the stage and laid down one of the weirdest sets I’ve ever seen. He said nothing on the mic the entire time, threw no lyrics in his songs, and scratched all over like the tracks had mosquito bites. Complete insanity.
Lastly, Zeds Dead took us out on some melodic dubstep and raucous deep house. A perfect set to close what was an amazing weekend.
This last aspect of any fest is a bit harder to explain unless you’ve experienced a fest that had personality. The best way to describe it would be a fest that sticks out in your mind as a place entirely its own space/world…something that separates itself from the crowd. When a festival accomplishes this “separate world” feeling it adds another layer onto the experience and allows you to be even further immersed. Electric Forest and EDC Las Vegas would be good examples.
It may have been because of being undersold or understaffed, but CounterPoint didn’t have as much personality as we’ve seen from other festivals. Nonetheless, we were able to get away for the weekend and dance and party in the beautiful Georgia hills.
Favorite set: GRiZ or Tipper…it’s too hard to choose.
Favorite thing I overheard: “There was no one there to tell me no…story of my life with this festival.”
Very little sound-bleed
The porta-pottys were really clean and well maintained all weekend and there was plenty of free water. Also, the areas they provided for grilling were very well done. They even provided the charcoal and utensils.